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Kentucky Kroger shooter pleads guilty to federal hate crimes

Gregory Bush faces up to life imprisonment on the federal hate crimes charges, but had already been sentenced to life on state murder charges. File Photo courtesy Louisville Department of Corrections
Gregory Bush faces up to life imprisonment on the federal hate crimes charges, but had already been sentenced to life on state murder charges. File Photo courtesy Louisville Department of Corrections

March 20 (UPI) -- A man accused of killing two people in what authorities described as a racially motivated shooting at a Kentucky Kroger has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and firearm charges.

Gregory Bush, 53, of Louisville faces up to life imprisonment on the charges during his sentencing hearing June 24. He entered the plea Thursday.

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In December, Bush pleaded guilty but mentally ill to state charges of murder, attempted murder and wanton endangerment. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and will receive treatment and medication for mental illness while incarcerated.

Bush, who is White, opened fire Oct. 24, 2018, at a Jeffersontown, Ky., Kroger, killing Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, both of whom were Black.

Prior to carrying out the shooting at the grocery store Bush allegedly attempted to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, whose congregation is predominantly Black, and witnesses said he told another man at the scene "Whites don't kill Whites" before he was arrested.

An attorney for Bush, Angela Ellman, said that his schizophrenia was not medicated on the day of the shootings and he was "tortured by voices that threatened to kill him and his family."

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"He acted out of psychosis and his illness, while at the very same time his elderly parents were downtown seeking a mental inquest warrant to hospitalize him for everyone's safety," Ellman said.

Daniel Uria contributed to this report.

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